Updated: 28-Nov-2006 NATO Speeches

Riga, Latvia

27 Nov. 2006

Remarks to the press

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
at the joint press point with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Aigars Kalvītis

14 July 2006 - NATO
NATO Secretary General visits Latvia
28-29 Nov. 2006 - NATO
NATO Riga Summit
27 Nov. 2006 - NATO Photo icon
High resolution photos of the press point
27 Nov. 2006 - NATO Photo iconAudio file of the remarks to the press by the NATO Secretary General (MP3/1047Kb)

Thank you very much Prime Minister.

Let me start by saying that my wife and I came here in July to "inspect", as it is called, the preparations. We saw the grounds, we saw the Olympic Centre, and I must say that it is a very remarkable job our Latvian hosts have been doing and have done because I think the facilities are really excellent. I walked about with the Prime Minister through the main conference hall; I've seen the press centre; I've seen the bilateral meetings rooms. In other words, I have never doubted for one second Latvian hospitality, but they have done a great job.

And I was already in a position to thank President Freiberga personally for the great hospitality and I can repeat that here now in the presence of the Prime Minister again for the hospitality of the Latvian government and the Latvian people.

And let me also make an apology because I do very much realize that for the people of Riga the coming two days will be very complicated because I can imagine traffic jams caused by motorcades of all the 26 Heads of State and Government flying in and flying out after two days. I apologize for that. But let me say at the same time to them and to the people of Latvia and others that it is of course a very important moment.

Every and any NATO summit is a very special event because NATO does not have this regularity. So when NATO Heads of State and Government come together it is an important event. And I think it marks a milestone for the Alliance, but certainly also for Latvia that a foreign nation which joined NATO in 2004, that same nation now sees all 26 NATO Heads of State and Government coming together in Riga and meeting here for what without any doubt will become and will be a very interesting summit.

That is where I would like to leave it by way of introduction because this is not yet a formal press conference.


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